Robert Reich: The Real Socialism In America

I have made no bones about my admiration for Robert Reich. He tells the true story of how workers fare in the US. That story for the most part is no good.

Here Reich talks about the real welfare queens in this country – corporations and the very rich:


Thousands of big American corporations rake in billions each year in government subsidies, bailouts, and tax loopholes – all funded on the taxpayer dime, and all contributing to higher stock prices for the richest 1 percent who own half of the stock market, as well as CEOs and other top executives who are paid largely in shares of stock.

Big Tech, Big Oil, Big Pharma, defense contractors, and big banks are the biggest beneficiaries of corporate welfare.

How? Follow the money. These corporations and their trade groups spend hundreds of millions each year on lobbying and campaign contributions. Their influence-peddling pays off. The return on these political investments is huge. It’s institutionalized bribery.

An even more insidious example is corporations that don’t pay their workers a living wage. As a result, their workers have to rely on programs like Medicaid, public housing, food stamps and other safety nets. Which means you and I and other taxpayers indirectly subsidize these corporations, allowing them to enjoy even higher profits and share prices for their wealthy investors and executives.

Not only does corporate welfare take money away from us as taxpayers. It also harms smaller businesses that have a harder time competing with big businesses that get these subsidies. Everyone loses except those at the top.  

Of course 3+ minutes is hardly time tp give much more than an overview for this major problem. Just to give an example of how big the problem is, just remember that Trump and the Republicans cut $1.7T from the taxes of corporations and the rich in 2017. Money that was then and is now sorely needed for infrastructure and civic improvements.

And don’t forget Reich is only talking about the federal level of government. When we get down to stay and local level we get into quite a nest of tax abatements, tax rebates, tax incentives for businesses, abatements on municipal utilities, the building and alteration of streets for a specific business just to name a few. 

We have all read or possibly even seen cities throw huge packages of various tax incentives and service cost cuts and building in competitive bidding to get businesses to move into the area. These packages must be paid by someone. That someone is usually you and me. But it is also local businesses who are harmed by brining in certain new businesses.

Who in Iowa hasn’t driven through a small Iowa town that has a downtown that is mostly boarded up while at the edge of town sits a Walmart that probably was able to extract sewer, water, electric and tax concessions from the local town. All that for many low paying jobs that often leave employees looking for Medicaid and food stamps. And thanks to legal set ups, that store probably pays no local taxes. In short it is a net cost that will probably run old local businesses out of business, thus lowering the tax base.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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